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Preserving Eggs With Hydrated (Pickling or Slaked) Lime
This post is a fun one I’ve been meaning to get around to for a while. Calcium Hydroxide, who knew? Let’s preserve fresh eggs together.
First of all who doesn’t love chickens and all the comic relief they provide. Not to mention the eggs and the great addition to your home. We’ve really enjoyed having chickens and our young kids have enjoyed them as well. From a homesteading & emergency preparedness standpoint they are a foundational addition to peace of mind.
We added ten more chickens to our flock this year and guess what? It’s certainly true that the more chickens you have the more exciting it is. Please share below if you are also a fellow chicken lover! With that many hens we’ve had well over a dozen eggs per day during the warm season! Bring it on!
Learning that preserving eggs with hydrated lime was actually quite simple and inexpensive had me intrigued. This practice of preserving fresh eggs in lime water has been around for centuries. How cool to continue this tradition on and teach our children how to do it.
I knew we would eventually be giving it a go. I will update this post 6 months down the line and at 1 year.
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Why Would I Want to Preserve Fresh Eggs?
Hens will naturally slow down their production in the winter months as they are extremely sensitive to light, which is essential to them laying. Many people put artificial lights up in the winter to keep the production up year round, but we opt to allow them the break they deserve. By preserving fresh eggs when there’s a plentiful supply, we will continue to have fresh eggs all winter without putting extra stress on our girls. Just in time for the holiday baking, we will have all the supply of eggs we need.
*Preservation of food is essential to homesteading & emergency preparedness! Freeze drying is the most lightweight option for food storage and has a shelf life up to 25-30 years. If you haven’t heard of them, Harvest Right is an excellent company that has in our opinion the best at home freeze dryers on the market. Check them out and see what you think:
Would This Work For Store Bought Eggs?
Unfortunately, no. Just before a hen lays an egg, they add a protective layer to the egg called “bloom” or cuticle to the outside of the egg. This coating minimizes the size of the pores of the egg, blocks out potential bacteria from entering into the egg and retains moisture inside. This is also why fresh eggs do not need to be refrigerated for at least a month after being laid. However, once they are washed they should promptly be refrigerated.
Eggs sold in store have also been washed thus removing the protective coating. Once the bloom has been washed away, it is very difficult to tell as the egg will still look the same.
How Long Can I Store Fresh Eggs?
Fresh eggs can be preserved for up to 1 year. Some say for a bit longer, but that seems to be a vague consensus so for us, we will stick to the 1 year rule. The eggs should be stored in a cool place, preferably without much light, with a sealed lid on top of your food grade container.
What Do I Need to Preserve Fresh Eggs?
- A clean food grade container with properly sealed lid
- Calcium Hydroxide aka Hydrated, Pickling or Slaked Lime
- Those beautiful fresh eggs (no cracks, dents and fairly clean)
- Mixing spoon
Where in the World Do I Find Calcium Hydroxide?
Funny enough, you can buy a massive 50lb bag of it at your local hardware store for cheap. That’s because it is used in construction to create more dense, water resistant concrete products. Go grab one and chuckle to yourself- this one bag will literally last you years for your egg preservation adventures.
Note: do not confuse barnlime bought from an agricultural store- that is a different product.
Is Calcium Hydroxide Toxic?
No, it is a natural product. It is typically made up of bones, limestone and oyster shells that have been burnt at extreme temperatures and then hydrated with a bit of water.
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How Do I Preserve Fresh Eggs With Hydrated Lime?
1 Ounce of Lime (by weight) Per 1 Quart of Water
In Other Words About 2 Full Tablespoons of Lime Per 1 Quart of Water
4 Quarts = 1 Gallon
1 Gallon = 8 T OR 1/2 cup of Hydrated Lime
5 Gallon Bucket (filled) = 2 1/2 cups of Hydrated Lime
For Reference: A 1 Gallon Container Will Hold About 30 Eggs
- This tends to work better if you mix up your water and lime powder first, but again it depends on your container. You may want to mix up your solution in one container, and then add it to it’s final home after placing the eggs carefully in first.
- It is completely normal for the lime powder to settle and for the solution to be a white color, even after mixing.
- Make sure all the eggs are fully submerged. Cover with the lid and store in a cool, dark place. Best to add a date to your container so you can remember when they were stored.
- When using eggs, simply remove them, rinse and go to town.
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We’re excited to see how this pans out and will be updating this post in the future (6 month & 1 year mark). Please share! Comment and let us know how it goes for you.
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Herbs, Birds & the Bees
Garden, Chickens, Bees & Homestead